Israelis And Palestinians Agree On New Negotiation Plan


Tuesday, November 27th 2007, 7:13 am
By: News On 6


ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) _ Opening a high-stakes Mideast peace conference, President Bush announced a joint agreement among Israeli and Palestinian leaders Tuesday to reach a peace pact by the end of 2008. Negotiations would begin within weeks to establish ``a democratic Palestinian state that will live side by side with Israel in peace and security,'' he said.

The agreement was reached after weeks of intense negotiations and it was not clear until Bush stepped to the podium in the majestic Memorial Hall at the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis that the two sides would come together on how to move forward on the path toward peace.

``Today, Palestinians and Israelis each understand that helping the other to realize their aspirations is the key to realizing their own, and both require an independent, democratic, viable Palestinian state,'' Bush said.

``Such a state will provide Palestinians with the chance to lead lives of freedom, purpose and dignity. And such a state will help provide Israelis with something they have been seeking for generations: to live in peace with their neighbors.''

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Here is a text of the Israel-Palestinian agreement to formally restart Mideast peace talks, as read to the U.S.-organized peace conference at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., Tuesday:

The representatives of the government of the state of Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization, represented respectively by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and President Mahmoud Abbas, in his capacity as chairman of the PLO executive committee and president of the Palestinian Authority, have convened in Annapolis, Maryland, under the auspices of President George W. Bush of the United States of America, and with the support of the participants of this international conference having concluded the following joint understanding:

We express our determination to bring an end to bloodshed, suffering and decades of conflict between our peoples; to usher in a new era of peace, based on freedom, security, justice, dignity, respect and mutual recognition; to propagate a culture of peace and nonviolence; to confront terrorism and incitement, whether committed by Palestinians or Israelis.

In furtherance of the goal of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security, we agree to immediately launch good-faith bilateral in order to conclude a peace treaty resolving all outstanding issues, including all core issues without exception, as specified in previous agreements.

We agree to engage in vigorous, ongoing and continuous negotiations and shall make every effort to conclude an agreement before the end of 2008.

For this purpose, a steering committee led jointly by the head of the delegation of each party will meet continuously as agreed.

The steering committee will develop a joint work plan and establish and oversee the work of negotiations teams to address all issues, to be headed by one lead representative from each party.

The first session of the steering committee will be held on 12 December, 2007.

President Abbas and Prime Minister Olmert will continue to meet on a biweekly basis to follow up the negotiations in order to offer all necessary assistance for their advancement.

The parties also commit to immediately implement their respective obligations under the performance-based road map to a permanent two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict issued by the quartet on 30 April, 2003 -- this is called the road map -- and agree to form an American, Palestinian and Israeli mechanism led by the United States to follow up on the implementation of the road map.

The parties further commit to continue the implementation of the ongoing obligations of the road map until they reach a peace treaty. The United States will monitor and judge the fulfillment of the commitment of both sides of the road map.

Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, implementation of the future peace treaty will be subject to the implementation of the road map, as judged by the United States.